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A few days ago, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio made quite the statement as he stood in front of the TV cameras and gave a very old school New York “tough guy” speech as a piece of heavy equipment proceeded to crush dozens of dirt bikes and ATVs. This oddly authoritarian act has sparked outrage from riders all over the country. This felt particularly unnecessary due to the current chip shortage making automotive production limited. 

Dirt bikes like this ridden in the streets of NYC are getting crushed by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
A man does a wheelie on a dirt bike in Times Square | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Why did NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio crush those motorcycles? 

NYC is made up of a diverse collection of people who love to do all kinds of different things. This is the magic of NYC. However, some of New York’s varied population likes to run two-stroke dirt bikes and ATVs through the metropolis’ congested streets at full tilt while riding wheelies. 

Anyone who has ever witnessed the massive horde of buzzing two-strokes knows that it is closer to what I imagine a Vikingr raid would sound like than dirt bikes. This activity has become quite a hit on social media. The more daring and risky the stunts and the encounters with the police, the more clout a rider receives on social media. 

Bill de Blasio has clearly had enough of this illegal dirt biking and has decided to handle it with force. “Anyone out there has an illegal dirt bike, don’t even think about it because NYPD will find it and will crush it. It’s as simple as that,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

How many bikes and ATVs are slated to get destroyed? 

According to NY1, dozens of dirt bikes and ATVs were dramatically crushed at a New York sanitation facility over the weekend. As many bikers watched in horror as tons of great two-strokes were destroyed, de Blasio gave his menacing speech and warned riders that more destruction was coming. NYC Mayor De Blasio is estimated to have already crushed more than 1,000 bikes and ATVs over the past year. 

If that number isn’t bad enough, the NYPD says they plan to seize and crush at least 2,000 more bikes by the end of 2021. Compared to 2020s 500 seizures, this number feels pretty grotesq and unnecessary. 

Why is the NYPD coming down so hard on these bikers? 

​​“It seems more of a culture thing. With social media and bragging points and taking videos of people, it seems that’s what really fueling this thing to do it because everyone wants to outdo the next person, with the ability to pull a wheelie for a mile,” said Robert Martinez, deputy commissioner of the NYPD’s Support Services Bureau.

Given the current political climate, it feels important to note that most people riding these illegal dirtbikes and ATVs are young people of color. Most of the riding occurs in Harlem, the Bronx, and Queens. This detail only adds context to how hard the city is choosing to crack down on a non-violent crime. 

The NYPD has a long track record of hitting these communities extra hard, meanwhile policing a city rife with high-profile financial crimes as well as drugs, physical violence, and a growing mental health crisis. 

Instead of turning their attention to these more heinous crimes and dangerous situations, they give people of color the hard boot. That isn’t to say these bikers aren’t breaking the law and that sometimes their shenanigans aren’t dangerous, but it feels a little funny to go so hard on these people when other things deserve attention from the NYPD. 

That being said, many members of these communities are happy to see the noisy bikes leave their streets. This kind of riding can be dangerous and disruptive. Maybe instead of crushing these bikes, they could be liquidated elsewhere and the money put back into these communities? 


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